Monday, July 17, 2017

Finish it - Rose & Grace Bulalo

I looked at it quite sadly like I’ve never looked at a leftover before - a big bowl of bulalo. My eyes were measuring every angle of it for meat. There's no more green leafy vegetables in the soup because that was the first one I ate. Still a healthy or an unhealthy amount of meat is left.

In these official trips, and sometimes even in family, I have become the finisher not because I want to but because I was asked to, since I am usually the biggest. A shame leaving it to waste, we paid for it; and sometimes people I am with say, don’t tell me we’re going to carry that home someone has to finish it.

Don’t get any ideas I don’t finish it all. Sometimes I eat a little extra to show I have given in to the request which is usually by a superior. And sometimes I eat more since there won’t be food in the hotel. If I feel like popping I refuse.

Now, no one is asking. Technically no one is my superior there, it was a team of many different offices, and still I find myself seriously staring at a big bowl of bulalo. I am good but not popping. Leave that bulalo to someone else, really?

“Ano tapusin ko na? (Roughly translates as, anyone mind if I finish this?)”, I asked my immediate table which encompasses those within reach of the bowl that was under my crosshairs. “Go right ahead”, was the chorus back to me. They smiled strange, like I was eating myself to the grave, who knows maybe they are right.

According to our hosts this bulalo that caught my attention was cooked for 6 hours which is why it breaks off the bone easily. It is tender when I chew. Our lunch for that day included also Kaldereta and Shrimp - I think there was vegetables - and despite being a big slab of meat attached to bone, the best texture of all those we ate was the bulalo which increased my interest. I looked at it like it was unfinished business.

Bulalo like this I’ll never get in Manila. For some reason the bulalo in the street corners I see are made from some animal’s kneecap. I could never appreciate chewing the ligament or is it cartilage which these manila street bulalos are usually made of. Even the so called special ones in Manila are no match for what I am eating now.

It was a little embarrassing though, while nobody asked me to finish the meal, the leader of the party I was with did ask, “tapos na lahat, alis na tayo? (Is everyone finished? Can we leave?)”, and I had just began hacking away the big slab of meat I had sliced off the bone. 

“Saglit lang po. (hold on)” My eyes scanned across our long table and finding out I was alone still holding my spoon and fork and attending to a big piece on my plate, feeling embarrassed, I hurriedly sliced my prey. I made short work of it easily, it was that tender.

Thankfully, Rose & Grace Restaurant in Santo Tomas, Batangas  is a once in a blue moon location for me. There is also a Rose & Grace in Santa Rosa on the road going to Tagaytay

As a Quezon City native it is nice that either location, the temptation is so far away because there is no question that if I do come by again, I’ll give in again. Hard to refuse that once in a blue moon bulalo right there.

Then again since Rose & Grace bulalo and I have already familiarized with each other, the next visit maybe I have better chances of resisting. Rose & Grace is a big restaurant. There’s still more on the menu besides that rare tender piece of delicious meat comes off the bone so easy and a tasty broth to match.

Until then I’m eating fish for a week. I gotta jog that bulalo off of me.